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Is The Pandemic Causing Marital Problems:
Counsellors Speak

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changing social behaviors. It has caused immense strife between family members, friends, work colleagues due to one reason on another. An interesting development in this regard has been the increase in marital discord between couples because of the pandemic. 

From divorce lawyers to marriage relationship counsellors, everyone has spoken about how the pandemic has affected married couples adversely. There has been a substantial increase in the number of couples seeking professional counselling services

In this article, we look at some of the major factors that the pandemic is triggering that are leading to troubles between partners. If you are someone who is affected by similar problems or know someone that is going through issues, please read through till the end of the article. 

Factors that are Increasing Marital Discord during the Pandemic

1. Financial Worries and Stresses - 

The economic hardships of the pandemic have been felt by every family in some ways or the other. Jobs have been lost, salaries have been reduced and businesses have closed shop. A lot of couples have been fighting because of the changed financial conditions. For example, if the husband has lost his job and the wife is the only earning member in the family, it has resulted in a new power dynamic within the household. People are unable to cope with such changes. 

2. Lack of Privacy - 

Staying indoors 24x7 has taken a toll on couples. This has reduced their ability to do things on their own or spend time according to what suited them best. As individuals are indoors all the time, there is an expectation to spend every passing second together or doing fun things. While one partner might subscribe to this mode of thinking, the other partner would value their privacy and would want some time apart from themself. This is leading to strife. 

3. Division of Labour and Chores - 

A large section of the disagreements arises as couples have been forced to do so much of the household work. As nannies, housemaids and cooks have been unable to visit because of lockdowns and social distancing norms, couples have been forced to carry on with working from home as well as do their bit around the house. When one individual works more than the other one, it can lead to name-calling and feeling exploited at the hands of your partner

4. Increased Social Isolation - 

We release a lot of our pent-up frustration, anger, and worries by talking to someone other than our partner. For example, speaking out to your heart’s content in front of your childhood best friend over a glass of wine can be therapy. This can help in the reduction of stress. Because of the pandemic, this is not happening. Talking over the phone has its limits as your partner is there in the house with you. This social isolation adds to the sense of worry and tension. 

5. Social Commitments and Obligations (Friends and Family) - 

A lot of family members and friends in our circle have been affected negatively because of the pandemic. Counsellors have stated how couples have fought over helping someone else financially at the cost of their own dreams and ambitions. This also includes one of the couples putting themselves in harm’s way by helping someone close who has contracted the virus. Should they go, should they not go, should help be extended, all these arouse divided opinions. 

The Bottom Line

According to leading relationship counsellors, the breakdown of meaningful communication is the leading cause of marital discord. Communication is not empathetic in nature. Rather, it pulls dangerously in the direction of blame, name-calling, and negativity. 

Counsellors suggest that couples who are experiencing discord should seek professional help as soon as possible. They should try to create meaningful routines and try to do things that make them happy. The pandemic has been tough on couples. If you have any other questions, that you would like us to address, let us know in the comments below. 

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